Monday, May 7, 2012

The Promise of the Advocate

The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name--
he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.

We are now more than half way though the Easter Season, moving toward Pentecost, the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

As we see above Jesus promises that the Spirit will do two things with respect to teaching:
1. Remind us of what Jesus told us
2. Teach us everything.

It is the second of these that is a tall order. Thankfully Jesus does not set a time limiting on the Holy Spirit. He does not promise that the Spirit will teach us everything within the first century or even two centuries.

Jesus is the full revelation of God and there is therefore no more to come after him. But our comprehension continues everyday to grow and this was the plan.

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will teach everything and there are some very specific tools: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium.

Of the first two the Catechism says quite eloquently:

Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".

Notice here the distinction. We are not talking about those merely human traditions in the history of the church, some have been retained and some lost over the centuries. Here we are speaking of Sacred Tradition, Tradition whose origin is God.

Even today the Holy Spirit remains at work:

Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church:
- "through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts";it is in particular "theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth".
- "from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience",The sacred Scriptures "grow with the one who reads them."
- "from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth".

"It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."

May we open our hearts and minds to the great teacher (magister), the Holy Spirit, in whatever way we are spoken to today.